Injured ... Shane Sutton.

Injured ... Shane Sutton. Photo: AFP

SHANE Sutton, the Australian coaching chief of the British cycling team, was put in an induced coma due to bruising on his brain, and suffered a broken jaw and suspected broken ribs, after a road cycling accident.

Sutton’s brother Gary, head cycling coach of the New South Wales Institute of Sport and father of young professional road racer Chris, told Fairfax late Friday that details of the collision with a vehicle were sketchy.

But after initially being advised to prepare for the worst, as Shane appeared headed for surgery, the family was subsequently informed that the 55-year-old's condition had stabilised.

Woken at around 1am on Friday morning in Australia by a call from Shane’s assistant at British Cycling, Gary said the early news was highly distressing.

“We were told early in the morning that it was bleeding on the brain and they were taking him into theatre to operate,” he said.

“But we’ve since found out that it’s bruising of the brain, that he’s stable but that he’s still been comatosed while they keep an eye on the swelling. It’s just really a waiting game.

“Originally the first phone call was ‘be prepared for the worst’, but things are looking a lot better. That was at about 1am and we basically didn’t go back to sleep.”

Shane Sutton’s accident occurred within 15 hours of a road cycling accident that saw British Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins hospitalised after a separate collision with a vehicle. Wiggins has been discharged with minor injuries, including bruising to his right hand and ribs, but his Australian mentor is expected to remain in care for several days.

Gary Sutton said he was unsure about the circumstances of Shane’s accident, but British reports suggest he was on his regular pre-work ride at around 9am, near Manchester’s velodrome.

Shane Sutton is Wiggins’ coach at professional outfit Team Sky – where his nephew, Chris, is also a member – and is the head coach of the British national cycling team that won 12 medals at the London Olympics in July.

Gary Sutton was due to see his brother in Scotland next week at a track cycling world cup, but is now preparing to fly abroad on Sunday to visit him in hospital.

“I’ve been told that they’re investigating the accident and that there wasn’t a mark on the car, apart from on the side mirror which was knocked back and had a few scratches on it,” Gary said.

"There were no scratches on his bike, and it was very, very lucky he had a helmet on. That was the information I was given."

In the accident involving Wiggins, the 2012 Olympics time-trial gold medallist was thrown off his bike when hit by a vehicle believed to have pulled out of a petrol station in Wrightington on Wednesday evening. Lancashire police said the 32-year-old suffered broken ribs and a wrist injury and had spent the night in hospital.

He gave photographers the middle finger as he was driven away from hospital.

Governing body British Cycling called on the government to improve conditions for cyclists.

‘‘It is extremely rare that our riders and coaches are hurt while out cycling on the road, even rarer that two incidents should occur in a short space of time, and we wish Shane and Bradley a speedy recovery,’’ it said.

‘‘Cycling is not an intrinsically dangerous activity but there is much more to be done to improve conditions for cyclists on the roads.

Wiggins, who broke his collarbone on the 2011 Tour de France, had been due to take part in a number of interviews to promote his new autobiography My Time.

Team Sky said on its website that his injuries were ‘‘not thought to be serious and he is expected to make a full and speedy recovery’’.

Garage attendant Yasmin Smith, who went to Wiggins’s aid, told the BBC: ‘‘I was in the office and I heard a screeching of tyres and a bang. I ran outside and there was a gentleman on the pavement. I didn’t realise who it was at first.

‘‘He was in a lot of pain. He actually thought he had broken his ribs. His hands looked bruised and they were curled up a bit. And then his colour changed.’’

Wiggins’s wife went to the scene while they were waiting for an ambulance, she added.‘‘His wife (tried to) hug him and he said: ’Don’t, my ribs’,’’ Smith said.

With aap and afp